John Ryan | KUOW News and Information

John Ryan

Reporter

Year started with KUOW: 2009

John welcomes story ideas and feedback from listeners. Email him at jryan@kuow.org or call him at 206-543-0637. For secure, confidential communication, he's at 1-401-405-1206 on the Signal messaging app, or you can send snail mail (but don't put your return address on the outside) to John Ryan, KUOW, 4518 Univ. Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105.

Good thing John was a clumsy traveler.

Otherwise his cheap microcassette recorder wouldn't have fallen out of his pocket in an Indonesian taxi, a generous BBC stringer wouldn't have lent him some professional recording gear, and he wouldn't have gotten the radio bug. But after pointing a mic at rare jungle songbirds and gong–playing grandmothers for his first radio story, there was no turning back.

In the past decade, he's freelanced for shows such as All Things Considered, Living on Earth, Marketplace and The World. He also continued his print career by reporting for newspapers including the Christian Science Monitor, Los Angeles Times and Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.

In 2009, John moved back to Seattle after two exciting years covering avalanches, political intrigue and just about everything in between for KTOO FM, the NPR station in Alaska's capital city.

John has won national awards for KUOW as a freelancer (check out "As the Sound Churns") and now as a staff reporter, including the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi awards for Public Service in Radio Journalism and for Investigative Reporting. He believes democracy only works when journalism holds the powerful accountable for their words and actions. 

In addition to the recent stories below, John's KUOW stories from September 2012 and before are archived here.

Ways to Connect

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Capitol Hill's light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

Seattle-based Sound Transit has made its plan to expand regional transit slightly faster and slightly more expensive.


Sound Transit

Everett could get light rail in 20 years instead of 25 under a new plan discussed by the Sound Transit board Thursday afternoon.

Light rail would reach Ballard in 19 years instead of 22.


An air tanker drops red fire retardant on a wildfire near Twisp, Wash., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015.
FLICKR PHOTO/BEN BROOKS (CC BY-SA 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1KSV09N

State officials are investigating the causes of two forest fires northeast of Seattle.

With no lightning reported in the Oso or Gold Bar areas where the fires started, officials suspect they were caused by humans, either accidentally or intentionally.

Ted Cruz raised the most money of any Republican presiddential candidate in Washington state.
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Candidates who raise the most money tend to win elections.

But not always.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz was scheduled to speak at a rally in Spokane and a fundraiser in Redmond on Wednesday and at a rally in Bothell on Thursday.

But he dropped out of the presidential race Tuesday night after Donald Trump's big win in Indiana.

Thornton Place Apartments in Seattle's Northgate neighborhood has 56 apartments (out of 278) set aside for low wage earners. In exchange for keeping rents for those units low for 12 years, the developer got a tax break.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

This summer, Seattle voters will be asked to make property in the city a little less affordable to make housing for the poorest Seattleites more affordable.

On Monday, Seattle City Council unanimously approved putting a housing levy on the Aug. 2 primary ballot.


KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Transit riders around the region have told Sound Transit that the agency's proposal to build 58 miles of light rail over the next 25 years is too slow.

It's been a clear theme in the more than 30,000 comments the agency has received as it gears up for the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure this fall.

UW-Tacoma biologist Aimee Kinney looks for small invertebrates that salmon feed on along a less-degraded patch of heavily walled Alki Beach in West Seattle.
kUOW Photo/John Ryan

In Seattle's King County, property owners have walled off most of the shoreline with concrete bulkheads and other heavy infrastructure.

Along Hood Canal and other rural parts of the sound, the owners of coveted waterfront homes keep building more walls to keep their properties from eroding.

KPLU fans at a community meeting and fundraiser in Olympia.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Public radio station KPLU has raised more than half the $7.25 million it says it needs to fend off a buyout by KUOW and the University of Washington.

Seattle's two NPR news stations will soon have competing music services as well.

News and information station KUOW 94.9 is launching an online and HD Radio service called Planet Jazz that will play jazz and blues around the clock.

Taylor Shellfish crews haul up oysters from Samish Bay, Washington. The Northwest's shellfish industry is one of the first to feel the impacts of ocean acidification.
Katie Campbell, KCTS9/EarthFix

A panel of ocean scientists from Washington, Oregon and California said Monday that local action on the West Coast — one of the regions of the world hardest hit by ocean acidification — could soften the blow of this rapidly worsening global problem.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

An oil refinery on Puget Sound wants to ship a raw material for plastic overseas, and some environmental groups say that's a bad idea. 

The Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, Washington, is proposing a $400 million expansion.

The upgraded refinery could make cleaner, low-sulfur gasoline and ship up to five tankers a month of the chemical known as xylene to Asia.

Neighbors and protesters greet Hillary Clinton's motorcade as the candidate arrives at a private fundraiser in Medina, Washington.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

If campaign contributions are any indicator, Washington state is "feeling the Bern."

People here have given Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders 30 percent more money than they have to his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton through the end of February. Sanders' $2.6 million Washington war chest is more than all Republican candidates combined have received from the state.

Some of Washington state's busiest bridges have a surprising design feature deep inside their massive structures.

Thirty-four water systems in Washington state were found to have unacceptable levels of lead. Most of those systems are now in compliance, although four of them are still working toward lower lead levels.
Flickr Photo/Christina Spicuzza (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Flint, Michigan, isn't the only place with lead in its drinking water: 34 water systems in Washington state have tested above acceptable levels of the toxic metal, according to a new investigation from USA Today.

The list includes water systems at five schools: Maple Valley Elementary, Griffin School near Olympia, Shelton Valley Christian School, Skamania Elementary and Washington State Patrol Academy.

NOAA

Last month was easily the warmest January the world has ever recorded, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

The world's first regulations of carbon emissions from airplanes were announced Monday, and Boeing says it's on board.

TRANSCRIPT

The new regulations from a UN aviation panel (The International Civil Aviation Organization) aim to protect the global climate by requiring jets to burn less fuel. 

So far, airplanes have been a small part of the climate problem, but their role is growing fast.

Julie Felgar does environmental strategy at Boeing. 

Flooded with requests for public records, local officials want to put limits on how much information public servants have to make available to the public.  

The concepts have long been enshrined in Washington state law:

  • Information held by the government belongs to the people.
  • Public access to that information is essential to a functioning democracy.

The Tesoro refinery in Anacortes, one of Washington's top 10 sources of greenhouse gases.
Flickr Photo/Scott Butner (CC BY NC ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/e4EJ5B

The biggest climate polluters in Washington have been identified, according to numbers out this week: the TransAlta coal-burning power plant in Centralia, the BP oil refinery at Cherry Point and the Shell Oil refinery in Anacortes.

As the state gears up to regulate climate-harming pollution, the Washington Department of Ecology has been tracking emissions from the state's biggest sources.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Northwest coastal tribes have counted on salmon and herring for thousands of years to fill their nets and fuel their cultures. That could change in just a few decades as warmer waters drive fish north, according to a study out this week from the University of British Columbia.

Recording in the KUOW studio on University Way in Seattle.
KUOW File Photo

A campaign to save public radio station KPLU got under way on Monday.

Fans of KPLU now have until June 30 to raise at least $7 million.

Campaigners for a carbon tax delivered signatures to the Washington Secretary of State Wednesday, right before the year-end deadline. Their ballot initiative aims to cut the state's sales tax and business and occupations tax and replace the lost revenue with a tax on the carbon dioxide emissions that are changing the planet's climate.

Flickr photo/Philip Cohen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Washington Department of Corrections learned in 2012 that the software it was using to calculate prisoners' time off for good behavior was letting some prisoners out too soon. A possible fix to that computer error was delayed 16 separate times, Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke said Tuesday.

Flickr photo/Philip Cohen (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Washington corrections officials say they've identified 27 former prison inmates who were released too soon and need to be re-arrested.

William Wells raises a weather balloon for launch on St. Paul Island, Alaska.
KUCB photo/John Ryan

William Wells dashes out into a 30-knot wind, releases a huge balloon and watches it whip toward the endless whitecaps of the Bering Sea.

It’s all in a day’s work at what may be the nation's most remote weather station.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

studio record
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Fans of KPLU are expressing delight at news that the public radio station might not disappear after all.

Hundreds of KPLU listeners have been fighting the station's proposed sale to competing public radio station KUOW and its license holder, the University of Washington. This week they won a key victory.

studio record
KUOW Photo

Public radio listeners who oppose the sale of KPLU are getting a chance to try to raise the money necessary to buy the station. 

The Centralia Big Hanaford plant is the only coal-fired plant in Washington state. It also has natural gas-fired units.
Flickr photo/Kid Clutch (CC BY 2.0) HTTP://BIT.LY/1SXOE9R

Microsoft and Starbucks have joined other global businesses in going beyond the Paris climate deal by pledging to use only climate-friendly electricity.

But other well-known names among Washington state’s biggest companies haven’t signed on.

Activists deliver a petition asking the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to divest from fossil fuels.
KUOW Photo/John Ryan

While the world's richest man was meeting with world leaders in Paris at the global climate summit, climate activists marched on his foundation's Seattle headquarters Monday.

Courtesy Washington Environmental Council

Microsoft is investing in 520 acres of forest land next to Mount Rainier National Park – but not to turn it into another corporate campus.

The software giant is trying to offset its carbon emissions by buying carbon credits.

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